YES AND AMEN

[SW176] 03/13/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Yes and Amen”

All the promises of God are yes and amen, if you are in Christ Jesus. The question is, do you believe ALL of them?

2Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (KJV)

We receive from God promises from the beginning to the end:

— From the head of the serpent (Satan) being crushed (Genesis 3:15)

— To Jesus Christ’s promise that, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 22:20)

In order to receive ALL of God’s promises, you must understand:

—  the PROBLEM that made His promises necessary,

— the PURPOSE of those promises,

— the PROMISES themselves,

— the PRAYER of Jesus Christ that activated those promises,

—- and the PROOF that those promises have been and are still being fulfilled to all who will believe His promises.

THE PROBLEM THAT MADE HIS PROMISES NECESSARY:

In one word, it is waywardness (backsliding, turning away). This is not a surprise to God. From before time began, He had already prepared the solution (Revelation 11:8).

Here’s what the people of God said (and still say), and the Lord’s response —

Deuteronomy 5:27 (Moses quotes the people) ’Go near and hear all that the LORD our God says; then speak to us all that the LORD our God speaks to you, and we will hear and do it.’

Deuteronomy 5:28   (Moses says) “The LORD heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken.
Deuteronomy 5:29 ‘Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!”

Speaking the right words isn’t enough. There’s something wrong with our hearts. You and I need a new heart in us, so we will revere and honor and obey the Lord!

Jeremiah 29:11 was spoken to Jewish captives in Babylon who were captives because of their wayward hearts.

Go to Psalm 81:11-13. Just like Israel, you say you will obey, but then you don’t. If you say you never sinned, you do not tell the truth (1John 1:10). We were all born rebels, Adam’s kids who inherited his rebellious nature. So when you hear that oh-so-popular phrase, you may truly say, “I was born that way.” But God says you don’t have to stay that way!

It’s a sickness in your heart, for which only God has the cure — and He will gladly do it!

And you must be healed! Why? Waywardness is deadly, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

But God does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9).

THE PURPOSE OF HIS PROMISES

The purpose of God’s promises — all of them — is redemption, here and now, AND on the day of judgment (Ephesians 1:14, 4:30).

He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the ransom for which you were held captive by Satan, because of your sin.

He offers His marvelous grace — forgiving your sin — through Jesus Christ. That’s a promise many of us celebrate! Your past sins are forgotten by God when you confess them, turn from them, believe in Jesus Christ, and ask the Lord to forgive you.

But beloved, there is more that He promises.

If you don’t believe the “more,” it is because of what you’ve thought, and what you’ve been taught, things that do not match up with the Word of God, beloved.

Many will teach you that your sin nature, your inborn rebellion, doesn’t die until you are on your deathbed.

But what is the good of that? How can you be the witness Jesus promises He will make you, if you wait to be clothed with power from on high (Acts 1:8, Luke 24:49)? Being a witness requires you to live and walk and talk!

And why, then, does Paul pray for the Thessalonians to be sanctified through and through (1Thessalonians 5:23), made completely holy on the inside by being filled with the Holy Spirit? If it was only for the deathbed, there would be no need for Paul to pray that way.

THE PROMISES HE MAKES TO YOU

What does the Lord promise He will do with our waywardness?

These promises are throughout the Bible, but go to Ezekiel 36:22-27!

Will you believe it today?

Will you say “Yes” and “Amen” to this promise of God?

Or would you rather pick and choose what you believe God can do?

It is a life and death choice, beloved.

THE PRAYER THAT ACTIVATED THE PROMISE

John 17! Jesus prayed there, and the pivotal heart-changing verse is —

John 17:26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

It is by way of the love of God filling our hearts to overflowing, and by way of Christ Himself in our hearts via the Holy Spirit, that the promise of Ezekiel 36 is fulfilled!

THEN you are His witnesses!

THEN you are set free, indeed —- no longer a slave to sin (John 8:31-36)!

THE PROOF OF GOD’S PROMISE

The Book of Acts! When the day of Pentecost came, the men and women in that upper room were transformed! They no longer argued among themselves about who was the greatest. They were no longer confused about nearly everything that Jesus taught them! They were set free from their selfishness, from their waywardness, once and for all!

Jesus spoke of the Jewish leaders in Matthew 13, quoting from Isaiah 6 —

Matthew 13:15      FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,
AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES,
OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES,
HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,
AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN,
AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’

Is your heart dull, that is, calloused over? Have you stopped up your ears and screwed your eyes shut because you’ve always thought and been taught the promise of a new heart can’t possibly be true?

Then turn today and be healed of your waywardness! You were born that way, but you don’t have to stay that way!

God’s promises say that He will change your heart! Ask Him, and He will do it!

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GREATER THINGS

[SW174] 02/20/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Greater Things”

What did Jesus mean when He said those who believe in Him would do greater things? You’ll be amazed to find out!

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and  greater works than these he will do; because  I go to the Father.”

The keys here are “GREATER works he will DO” and  “BECAUSE I go to the Father.”

What possible greater thing (the word “works”  isn’t in the original Greek) could you do that Jesus did not do while He was on the earth?

What possible greater thing could be done by you BECAUSE He went to the Father?

What hadn’t Jesus Himself done while He was on the earth, but was something you as a believer would be empowered to do when He went to the Father?

We know that when Jesus went to the Father, He was glorified and poured out the Holy Spirit. The Spirit had not yet been given. (John 7:37-39). It was a new way of having the Spirit — He was to be you permanently, not just with you or upon you or “in” you for a specific task until it was done, like Bezalel (Exodus 31:2-3).

In that upper room in Acts 2, the 120 experienced a personal Pentecost. They were filled with God the Holy Spirit.

In order to  understand the greater they would do, you must understand what GOD worked in those who experienced a personal Pentecost that day. It is what empowered them to do the greater thing promised by Jesus.

The Holy Spirit purified their hearts (Acts 15:9), so those who were filled no longer had divided affections. God no longer had any rivals in their hearts.

Jesus prayed for the Father to put His love in them AND Him in them (John 17:26), so they would be filled Jesus Himself and with God’s actual love and love with God’s love — the same love the Father has for the Son. And that happened to those 120 in that upper room, when they experienced a personal Pentecost.

Jesus promised that because they were truly His disciples, they would continue in His word and know the truth by experiencing it, and the truth would set them free from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36). And that happened to those 120 in that upper room, when they experienced a personal Pentecost.

He promised that they would become partakers of His divine nature (2Peter 1:4), having His character literally residing in them. And that happened to those 120 in that upper room, when they experienced a personal Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit worked such a change in those who were filled, that they became Jesus Christ’s witnesses here, even to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8)!

So, with all of that in mind, what is it that the disciples were empowered to do, and what is it that you and I are empowered to do, when we experience a personal Pentecost?

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and  greater works than these he will do; because  I go to the Father.”

He said it would be a greater thing that we would DO, a “God thing” that we would do, one that God in the flesh did not do while He walked the earth. And it was BECAUSE He went to the Father that we would be empowered to do this greater thing.

There is only one thing that Jesus did not do while He walked the earth that we are now able to do BECAUSE He went to the Father.

It is a greater thing than healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers, casting out demons, making the blind see and the deaf hear and the lame walk, which He and His disciples did when Jesus walked the earth.

The only thing Jesus did not do while He walked the earth, but we are now able to do, is described in Acts 8:17, 9:17 and Acts 19:1-7 —

Acts 8:17 Then they  began laying their hands on them, and they were  receiving the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after  laying his hands on him said, “ Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be  filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 19:1   It happened that while  Apollos was at  Corinth, Paul passed through the  upper country and came to  Ephesus, and found some disciples.  2 He said to them, “ Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No,  we have not even heard whether  there is a Holy Spirit.”  3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “ Into John’s baptism.”  4 Paul said, “ John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people  to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”  5 When they heard this, they were  baptized  in the name of the Lord Jesus.  6 And when Paul had  laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began  speaking with tongues and  prophesying.  7 There were in all about twelve men.

Beloved, when you experience a personal Pentecost and your heart is purified, God’s actual love fills your heart, and you are no longer a slave to sin, and you are a partaker of the divine nature, the greater thing you are empowered to do, the one thing Jesus did not do while He was on the earth, is to baptize others in the Holy Spirit.

Those three scriptures show you that baptism in the Holy Spirit happens when you lay hands on a fellow believer. BUT It may also happen while you are speaking the gospel of Jesus Christ —

Acts 10:44   While Peter was still speaking these words,  the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the  message.

When you experience a personal Pentecost and are filled with and baptized in the Holy Spirit, you are empowered to lay hands on others or even to speak the gospel with such power that they, too, are baptized in the Holy Spirit and filled to overflowing!

Why? So their hearts are purified just like yours, no longer having divided affections.

Why? So His love is in them, just like it is in yours, just like Jesus prayed to the Father.

Why? So they, too, are no longer slaves to sin, just as He promised in John 8:31-36.

Why? So they, too, become partakers of the divine nature

Why? So they, too can be Jesus Christ’s witnesses, even to the ends of the earth.

Why? So they, too, can lay hands on others so they are filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit!

Jesus did not baptize people in the Holy Spirit while He was on the earth because it was not yet time.

AFTER He went to the Father and was glorified, it was time! Pentecost happened! And it is still happening today, in individual believers, beloved.

It’s what Paul was praying in Ephesians 3:14-19.

It’s the point to which apostles and prophets and evangelists and pastors and teachers seek to bring every Christian. It is God’s plan for building the church —

Ephesians 4:13 . . . until we all attain to  the unity of the faith, and of the   knowledge of the Son of God, to a  mature man, to the measure of the stature  which belongs to the  fullness of Christ.

Beloved, as Jeff once prophesied, God does not want a full church; He wants a filled church. God does not want a full church building. He wants believers who are filled!

Have you experienced a personal Pentecost? Is your heart pure? Are you filled with the same love God has for His Son? Are you no longer a slave to sin?

You must love and obey Jesus before the Holy Spirit will come and fill you to the full (Acts 5:32).

Are you still struggling with sin, Christian, pastor, church leader?

Then confess your sin, ask Jesus to forgive you! Repent!

Then ask, seek, knock, and He will purify your heart, fill it with His love, free you from slavery to sin, and give you His divine nature!

And you will be able to do something greater than what Jesus did when He walked the earth! It will be for His purpose. And you will become one of His ambassadors here, just as the Apostles and all of the church from that Acts 2 Pentecost, and for all time until Jesus returns!

Beloved, Jesus didn’t die and rise again so you could receive whatever blessings you demand from the Father’s hand.

He died and rose again so you would have a pure heart, one that obeys because it is filled with the very same love that the Father has for the Son, and so that you would be a vessel through which He would baptize many in the Spirit, to be His witnesses everywhere!

THE WORD OF THE LORD

[SW161] 11/14/2014 message notes by Sister Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“The Word of the Lord”

As I wrote in a recent blog, the Word of the Lord (the Bible) is like a diamond — turned in His light, rays of revelation shoot out! Today, I celebrate the Word of the Lord!

But you are bent down today, struggling, downtrodden, depressed, oppressed, or distressed, stuck in sin, which destroys you and those around you — or all of the above.

You are unsure, you hesitate, you doubt, and thus are like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:6).

Meanwhile, your Bible — the Word of the Lord — sits on the shelf in your home, collecting dust (just as mine did for the first 45 years of my life)!

Let me tell you about this Word of the Lord!!!

Psalm 33:4            Right!

Psalm 33:6            The heavens made, by it

Psalm 107:20        Sent to heal you (also, Mt. 8:8)

Psalm 119:83        Settled (established and stands) in heaven, FOREVER

Psalm 119:105        A lamp for your feet, a light for your path

Psalm 119:40        Very pure

Psalm 130:5          A source of hope

Psalm 138:2            Magnified above His name

Psalm 147:15        Runs swiftly

Psalm 147:18    Melts cold things

Isaiah 30:21        You will hear it, “This is the way, walk in it.”

Isaiah 40:8        Stands forever

Isaiah 55:11        Will not return to Him void

Jeremiah 23:39    Shatters hard things like a hammer

Ezekiel 37:4        Even dry bones hear it!!!

Matthew 13:8    When sown on good soil, fruitfulness results

John 1:14        Became flesh, and dwelled among us .  .  . and you will see His                 glory!

John 5:24        When believed and heeded, makes you pass from death to life!

John 8:31-36     The way to the truth that sets you free from the power of sin.

John 8:51        If obeyed (kept), you will never die!

John 12:48        If rejected/disobeyed, it will judge you, in the last day.

John 15:7        If it abides in you, then you will ask whatever you wish and it                 will be  one for you

2Corinthians 4:4, 6        A mirror through which you see Christ  . . .
the more you look AT the Lord,
the more you look LIKE the Lord!

Acts 6:2        Must not be neglected in order to serve tables!

Acts 6:7, 12:24    Keeps on spreading, when it is boldly spoken (Acts 4:29)

Acts 8:17, 11:1    Must be received, taken in, accepted, and submitted to

Romans 10:17     When heard and heeded, faith springs up!

1Corinthians 1:18    Foolishness to those that are perishing, but to those who are                 being saved, it is the power of God.

Ephesians 6:17    Is the sword of the Spirit

Philippians 2:16    Is the word of life that you are to hold out in the darkness, so                 you are like a star in the universe.

Hebrews 4:12    Living and active . . . judging the thoughts and attitudes of your             heart.

Let the Word of the Lord have its way in you. Submit to it, let it convict you regarding sin and righteousness and judgment, and the Lord will change your heart, and you will see Him!

This is not a suggestion, but a command from the Lord today!!!

Lift up your heads, and the King of glory will come in, and dwell within you (Psalm 24:7, John 14:23)!

Seek (search out, strive after, beseech, beg) the face, the presence, of the Lord!

Then you will be prepared to ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place. (Psalm 24:3) Once you have truly seen Him, you will never look away again!

WORKING HARD

[SW160] 11/08/2014 message notes by Sister Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Working Hard”

If you obey Jesus Christ today, His promise to you is that you will catch many people, and they will no longer be under the wrath of God, but will believe and obey Jesus, and have eternal life!

LOOKING AT THE TEXT (LUKE 5:1-11):

Verse 1 – Jesus is teaching the Word of God; He is doing what He sees His Father doing (John 5:19). As a result, the people press in around Him and listen. They know God is speaking.

Verse 2 – The fishermen had finished THEIR work, which they were doing in their own power.

Verse 3 – He uses Simon’s vessel to teach from, so all can hear and see.

Verse 4 – He commands Simon to go out again into the deep water and let down the nets. He says they will have a catch. When HE commands, it will be so, even though it seems impossible!

Verse 5 – Simon says THEY worked hard all night but caught nothing.

— But He OBEYED JESUS, saying, “I will do as you say.”

Verse 6-7 – The catch is huge, the nets start to break, the other boat is called, and even then, both boats begin to sink from the weight of the catch. When HE commands, we go out in HIS power and miracles happen!

Verse 8-9  – As a result of this miracle, Simon is convicted of his own sinfulness, and falls down in worship to Jesus. Note that Simon was NOT convicted of his sinfulness prior to this point, even though Jesus had been talking with him and the others.

— When true miracles are done by God, conviction of sin and repentance are always the result. In this way, we can discern whether signs and wonders are false or truly from God.

Astonishment seizes (grabs) them all!

— They are trained fishermen, experts! But they had no catch. Suddenly, there is a huge catch!

— Training and expertise does not make for a huge catch. Apart from Him, we can do nothing:

John 15:4 “ Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit  of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he  bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Verse 10 – After this amazing miracle, Jesus amazes them further by telling them that from now on, they will be catching men!

Verse 11 – They left their work which they had been doing in their own power, and followed (BELIEVED AND OBEYED) Jesus.
Catching men! They did, with Him!

And then, He told them He was going to leave them, If they obeyed, He would give them the Holy Spirit:

John 14:15   “ If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. [the original Greek has “kai” before the next verse, which means “and”] 16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another   Helper, that He may be with you forever . . .”

Note the connection between OBEDIENCE (if you keep My commandments) which is evidence of loving Jesus Christ, and receiving God’s power to do God’s works through God’s Holy Spirit!!

And they will do even greater works, BECAUSE Jesus is going to the Father:

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and  greater works than these he will do; because  I go to the Father.”

What happens when Jesus goes to the Father? He is glorified, and the Holy Spirit is given:

John 7:39 But this He spoke  of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for  the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet  glorified.

That happened in Acts 2! And He is still filling those who obey Him (Acts 5:32)!

Then we go out in HIS power and do the works we see the Father doing, and catch people!

FOR THE CHURCH:

Beloved, we work very hard in our own power and our own training and expertise.

But we can only do what He has called us to do — catch people — when we obey Jesus’ commands and thereby show that we love Him. And most of the church is disobedient to the Lord.

This is disobedience — working in our own power! We disobey Jesus Christ when we rely on our own:

— skill
— knowledge
— expertise
— logic
— wisdom

We disobey Him when we:

— use demographics to ensure success (that’s like using an electronic fish finder to make sure you get a catch!!!)
— do motorcycle and dog blessings to attract people
— hold carnivals to attract people

The result of such things is that people are attracted to a ministry or a man, and there is no conviction of sin and thus, no repentance, because these are natural works, not God’s works.

And that man or that ministry receives glory, not Jesus Christ.

We will catch nothing that way!

I tell you the truth, the church is a laughing stock to the world, because she is full of sin and acts like the world.

But when we cease from our natural works and do God’s works, our detractors will be silenced:

Acts 4:13   Now as they observed the  confidence of  Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and  began to recognize them  as having been with Jesus.  14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply [my emphasis].

We must be doing miracles, signs and wonders, so conviction of sinfulness results, and repentance comes. That’s why the newborn church prayed like this:

Acts 4:29 “And  now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may  speak Your word with all  confidence,  30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and   signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy   servant Jesus.”

THEN men and women are saved from the wrath of God.

EXHORTATION:

Beloved, confess your sinfulness in disobeying Christ by working in your own power, with your own expertise and your own training.

Repent, have a change of heart!

Cease from your own labors, just as Simon and his companions did.

His promise to you, if you obey Him, is that you will catch many people, and they will no longer be under the wrath of God, but will believe and obey Jesus, and have eternal life!

HOT PURSUIT

What is God looking for? Heat! Zeal! Intense enthusiasm and passion, to an excessive degree!

[SW148] 08/01/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Hot Pursuit”

Zeal (2204, zeo) — To be hot, to boil (of liquids), or to glow (of solids), i.e., to be be fervid, be fervent. To be intensely enthusiastic or passionate, to an excessive degree!

Zeal for His house consumes me, as it did Paul, as it did Christ (see Psalm 69, John 2:17)!

And I am in hot pursuit, to know Him more and more and more, to be more and more and more like Him!

Heat me until I glow, Lord!!

Text:  Philippians 3:14, Jeremiah 1 & 2

A little history on Paul (Hebrew name “Saul”) —
— “Successful”
— BUT he murdered Christians (Acts 26:10)

When he was stricken by the Lord (Acts 9)
— He deeply repented,
— His blind eyes were opened, he was filled with the Spirit!
— A new kind of ZEAL came into Paul; not the foolish zeal of a Pharisee, but fired up by the Spirit with HOLY ZEAL!
— All his prior “success”? Dung, to him!

Oh, to know Him! To have holy intimacy, a relationship where He speaks to you and you to Him! Sitting at the table with the Father and Son and Holy Spirit!

Pressing on! Running (1 Corinthians 9:26)!

Hot pursuit! Beyond Christ in us, the hope of glory! Full of His glory, His zeal!

And Paul finished the race (2 Timothy 4:7-8)!

But what is this that I see today, among Christians?

Thus says the Lord, to the church at Laodicea:

Revelation 3:15  “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot;  I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will  spit you out of My mouth.
Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.”

If you do repent as He commands, if you ask for pure gold refined by the fire, white garments, and eye salve, you will surely be rich in Him, clothed with Him, and able to see Him.

You will, like Paul, die to all you are so Christ can rule and reign in you.

You will be filled with the Spirit, if you but ask your Father (Luke 11:13).

And then you will have God’s fiery, holy zeal for those who do not know His Son, and for His church, to see to it that she is not found wanting by Him!

Jeremiah 1:

Tuesday night, I think it was, I was about to drop off to sleep, and I saw a picture. I described it to Jeff, because sometimes he is able to interpret what I see. But he had no interpretation this time.

I thought, “Maybe it was nothing.” But when I get a picture out of the clear blue, it is usually from the Lord.

Thursday morning I was fasting, praying, reading the Word. I continually read through the Bible, and had come to Jeremiah 1.

The Lord said, “What did you see?”

I saw an old man with a very long beard that came to a point at its end. He was sitting in a chair, but not straight up, and his eyes were cast down.

You have seen well,” the Lord says.
“It is My church.

“Rather than being full of My holy zeal and my life and my vigor, the church is old (the long beard) and has had to sit down because she is tired. She cannot even sit up straight, and she is looking down, rather than up, toward Me.”

Jeremiah 2:

But the Lord also says this, O church: “If you will return to the love of your betrothals, and follow after Me in the wilderness, I will surely bring you into the Promised Land!
“You are in this condition because of who you listen to. My Word is your plumb line, and nothing else.”

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.

“So repent. Return, O faithless sons, and I will heal your unfaithfulness (Jeremiah 3:22). Remember Me, look up toward Me. And I will revive you!”

Rebuilding – Consecrated and Cleansed

[SW143] 06/28/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — Consecrated and Cleansed”

Always when I preach, it is as much a message to be worked in my own heart as it is one that is to be delivered to you. And that is so today!

I tell you, He who has begun a good work in you will perfect it until Christ comes (Philippians 1:6)! So let the work begin, Lord, in me, in your church, in all believers!

“God’s work!” we say, as He consecrates us and we are baptized in water as a sign of it.

“God’s work!” we cry, as He cleanses our hearts and fills us with His holiness, bringing us into holy intimacy with Him!

In Nehemiah 12:27-30, the completed wall was dedicated, and the priests purified themselves.

It was God’s work.

It began with Nehemiah’s intercession, seeking the Lord’s heart and petitioning Him on behalf of His distressed people.

We have talked about the steps that follow. Now we are at the conclusion.

The dedication of the wall in today’s passage was an outward act done as a sign of an inward conviction, a recognition on Israel’s part that the wall they had worked on was God’s wall, and it was completed only by His provision.

It is like that when we are baptized under the new covenant (God’s promise fulfilled), the one Jesus instituted. We are God’s workmanship:

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We could not save ourselves. He saved us and bought us with a price (1Corinthians 6:20) — the blood of His Son.

We acknowledge we are God’s, and no longer our own. He wants us to be His. He wants us to be His children. He made us for that purpose. Step into that purpose!

Just as with the dedication of the wall, baptism yields worship — gladness, thanksgiving, and songs of praise!

Then came the purification of the priests, the people, the gates and the wall  (Verse 30). It was outward, it was external — they performed a cleansing ritual established through Moses.

Under the new covenant, God Himself cleanses us inwardly, purifying our hearts so they are wholly His.

When Jesus walked the earth, He chose His disciples, setting them apart to Himself. And He does that with us today. But then He said (and still says today), “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (see Matthew 5:48).

Peter repeated God’s call when he quoted Leviticus 11:44ff in 1 Peter 1:14-16, “As children of obedience, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior, because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”

We are consecrated and set apart with water baptism.

But there is a greater work, one that makes us more than conquerors in Christ Jesus, victors who are no longer slaves to sin:

Malachi 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

If we do not ask for the greater work to be done, we will be as Eliashib, inviting Tobiah (the ways of the world) in, and finding that he displaces everything that feeds worship in us (see Nehemiah 13).

We will be as those who went out and married the world (13:23ff).

We will violate the Sabbath (13:15ff), Christ’s sabbatismos (Hebrews 4:9), the true Sabbath rest of God, where we rest from our own works.

We will distance ourselves from our God by continuing to willfully disobey him (Isaiah 59:2).

But if both consecration AND cleansing are done, then we will hear the Holy Spirit say, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul” (Acts 13:2). These are the keys to effective service.

He will continue to mold and shape us as we go, but our hearts will be ever willing and not resistant.

The church as a whole and we individually must let Him to a complete work in us, consecrating ourselves to Him 100% and asking Him to purify our hearts.

Then the rebuilding of the church (and you and me) will be complete.

Our cry must be as David’s in Psalm 51:10-13.

Then we will hear and walking the way He continues to show us (Isaiah 30:21), obedient from our hearts.

REBUILDING – REPENTANCE AND CONFESSION

[SW142] 06/21/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — Repentance and Public Confession”

Beloved, if we speak all of God’s Word to the people, they will repent and publicly confess their sin. Then the people are ready to be dedicated and purified!

Jesus is showing me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:

Chapter 1 — Intercession

Chapter 2 — Christ’s provision

Chapters 2 and 3 — His Inspiration and Strength

Chapter 4 — Spiritual Warfare

Chapter 5 — Conviction of sin

Chapter 6 — Discernment

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repentance/Public Confession of Sin

Chapter 12 — Consecration

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

First we intercede standing in the gap between a broken church and a God who heals brokenness. Then we seek the provision necessary to rebuild.

Then we act upon the inspiration of God, the heart of God which we have sought and got!

But in the midst of the building, the Enemy who is Satan will mock, despise and attack us.
How do we defeat him? Spiritual warfare! But remember that we cannot blame Satan for the sin that has caused the church to become broken down.

The next element necessary to the rebuilding is discernment. We cannot fight Satan without it, and only God can give it. Mankind’s natural discernment will never work — we see its results every day in the headlines.

Now we come to the next step in rebuilding the church:

If we speak all of God’s Word to the people, they will repent and publicly confess their sin, which prepares them for dedication and purification!

It is one thing to complete the wall, but more is required to complete the process of rebuilding — the wall must be dedicated/consecrated, and purified.

And so it is with God’s people, both then and now. Our hearts must be consecrated, our hearts must be purified so they are wholly the Lord’s! And only He can do it!

Nehemiah 8 and 9

It was the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of Tishri, the Jewish calendar’s seventh month, which would be October in the Roman calendar. A day of ruach, a day of blowing, a day for the wind of the Spirit to blow through the people, by way of the public reading and interpretation of the Word of God by the priests and scribes!

It was the Feast of Trumpets, the first of the Ten Days of Awe (a time of reflection and repentance), leading up to the Day of Atonement (peace with God), and followed by the Feast of Tabernacles (rejoicing over God’s provision in the wilderness and now, in the harvest).

Oh, beloved! When we reflect and repent, and ask for the atoning blood of Jesus Christ to cover us, we will rejoice over God’s provision that kept us in our own wilderness wanderings, and His provision in coming to tabernacle literally inside of us!

When Ezra brought the law before the people, to read and interpret it, they all were attentive. Their ears were to it, spiritually.

Their hearts were open to not only physically hear it, but heed it (James 1:22-25).
They once again revered the Word of God, after they strayed from it, sinned, were sent into exile by God, and then brought back into to the land by Him!

Ezra didn’t give a 20-minute sermon, beloved!

He read from the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) from dawn until midday. His fellow priests and scribes stood with him. He was on a podium, above the people so they could see and hear. All the people stood up when he began, and did not sit down until he was done.

Then, after Ezra had read and interpreted the Word of God so the people could understand it, he blessed the Lord, the great God.

What else can we do when we read God’s Word and hear its interpretation with open hearts? We all simply bless the Lord for His greatness, His faithfulness, His love, His justness, and His righteousness!

All the people said, “Amen, Amen,” while lifting up their hands (v. 6).

And then they bowed low with their faces to the ground. Why? I believe the presence of the Lord was there, and when we sense Him, we bow in humility and submission, we bow under His great kabod, His majesty and the weightiness of His presence.

All of them wept when they heard the Word of the Lord (v. 9). They grieved, because they were convicted of how they and their fathers had grieved the Lord. What a picture of the true fear of God, true worship in Spirit and in truth!

They were convicted of their unfaithfulness, having been reminded through the Scriptures of the Lord’s great faithfulness.

But the Feast of Trumpets was not only a day to begin reflection and repentance, but a day of rejoicing and feasting because the Day of Atonement, the time of making peace with God, was coming!

So Nehemiah urged them to eat and drink and share with those who did not have anything prepared. It was a holy day, a day set apart. And beloved, Nehemiah reminded them, “The joy of the Lord is your strength!”

It is our fortress. It is not our joy, but His!

John 15:11 “ These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your  joy may be made full.
John 17:13 “But now  I come to You; and  these things I speak in the world so that they may have My  joy made full in themselves.”

It is not our strength, but His!

It is not our life, but His!

It is not our love, but His!

They rejoiced as they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, and then, in Nehemiah 9:1, on the 24th day of the month, on the appointed day,they mourned and fasted. I tell you, this is the appointed day!

They publicly separated themselves from all foreigners (so they would not worship the things that the world worships), and stood and confessed their sins publicly.

For three hours, the Torah was read, and for three hours after that, the people confessed.
Then the Levites invited them to bless their God, and began to speak of His faithfulness, of all He had given them, of how He had provided for them and made them able to go in and possess the land, fighting against their enemies as they went in.

And the Levites recited all the ways the people had rebelled after faithful Abraham, whose heart the Lord found faithful before Him (v.7). As Abraham stood before the Lord, even seeing His angel, he was found faithful, full of faith in the goodness and mercy of God!

The people’s sins were many:

Verse 16 —
They acted arrogantly,
became stubborn,
would not listen,
and refused to listen,
They forgot the deeds of the Lord,
tried to go back into slavery in Egypt,
and made a golden calf and worshiped it.

Verse 26 —
They became disobedient and rebelled against the Lord.
They cast His law behind their backs.
They killed the prophets who admonished them so they might return to Him.
They committed great blasphemies (acts of contempt) against the Lord.

The Lord let their enemies have at them, they cried out, He delivered them, they sinned again, He punished them by exiling them, He delivered them because He promised He would bring them back in 70 years from Babylon. He kept delivering all who returned to Him, for His own name’s sake and because of His great hesed, His faithfulness as a husband to His people!

The Lord delivered them from captivity in Babylon, but they were still slaves to the King of Persia, in their own land. This speaks to me of the believer who is still a slave to sin.

The solution?

The people must be consecrated (Chapter 12), and purified (Chapter 13). We still have two messages to go, before we see the whole picture the Lord showed me!

The word to today’s church, today’s Christian:

The whole Word of God must be spoken and accurately interpreted.

The people must have ears to hear it, to heed it and not just physically listen, and revere it.

When the Word of God is spoken and the people have ears to hear it, they will repent. Let he who has an ear hear what the Spirit says!

The church must give the people a means to repent openly, to confess their sins publicly, before the whole congregation.

Let us have Ten Days of Awe, when every believer recaptures the fear of the Lord, the awe of Him, when they once again see His faithfulness and their unfaithfulness.

Peace with God will result, through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ!

Then, the rejoicing will begin, for on the mountain of the Lord, it has been provided (Genesis 22:14, the Akedah) —

—We have Christ, who not only is the means of making peace with God and establishing a face-to-face relationship with God, but also
—We have Christ who also makes the way for our hearts to be filled with His Spirit so our hearts are consecrated (made holy) and made entirely His, no mixture of affections, so we walk in His ways and thus, in His power!

Oh, believe God and not me, a rebuilt church and revival will result!